The lies of our lives – 200 words project


Here is this week’s 200 words project:

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Carl Jung put it perfectly: “Thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life,” he wrote. “Worse still, we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will by evening have become a lie.”

Dani Shapiro in Devotion: A Memoir

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This quote from Carl Jung seems appropriate at almost any phase of life. We are all no longer as young as we used to be. But we are all, still, younger than we could be. What changes us is not just the time passing by but also the steady stream of experiences, responsibilities and aspirations which change along with age and phase of life.

When I was 20, I thought I would live life “this” way. And I am still trying to live life the way I thought I should at 20. But time has gone on ahead. I am older, I have a family. I have a job, I have a mortgage. I have the pleasures of being independent and of freedom and of earning a fair living. I have the additional responsibilities which come with that. But I still cling to the desire for life the way I envisioned when I was 20. And it feels like a cop-out to actually change my vision of life from what I decided for me at 20.

But what I have to remind myself all the time is that at 20, I had no clue what responsibility meant and what are the joys which come along with it (oh, yes. I do find some aspects of responsibility enjoyable). At 20, I didn’t have enough experiences, hadn’t met enough people, hadn’t done enough things, hadn’t lived enough life to actually know about what I was talking about. I didn’t know myself as well as I know myself now.

And so, isn’t it a sign of a smart person who updates when new information trickles in? Just sticking to something because it was “decided” even though it contradicts the newest findings sounds quite crazy and delusional.

And this challenge is going to continue as long as we live. At 60, the wishes of 20 might seem comically absurd, but the wishes of 40 might seem painful because they were not so far off. But they will still be a lie at 60.

And here is an HBR article I found interesting which talks about midlife crisis – which is what Carl Jung is talking about anyway – Why so many of us experience a midlife crisis

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About the 200 Words Project

Once every week, on Monday morning, I will post my ‘200 Words Project’ post where I will ruminate on some idea which caught my interest in the current book I’m reading, or maybe (sometimes) from a blog post or podcast – in 200 words or more, never less!

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